This one could have been called You Are A Geek.

Everyone has something that they love and know so much about that it could be either embarrassing or amazingly cool, depending on who they’re talking to. What’s yours? I mean, whether you like a really niche hobby that you feel isn’t very credible with the general public, or you’re just way too into a celebrity or sport and know everything there is to know about it, that’s kind of the same thing. You have a passion for something. And whether it’s cool or not is actually a function of which group of people you ask.

(A brief aside about coolness: when I was studying Chemistry in Italy for a year, I behaved like most other students in England, that is to say I tried to impress people with how much beer I could drink. My new Italian friends didn’t really know which way to look. They were mostly busy working, practising what they’d learned before the next lecture so they could ask questions. Poor me… I’d just learned what was cool in my country only to find that it did no good with a new group of people.)

So how can you use this passion, this geekery? Well, the fact that you can become so knowledgeable about one thing should tell you that you don’t have a problem with learning. Your brain works just fine. The trick is to find a way of motivating yourself to learn something else that might not come naturally to you.

And OK, that’s actually pretty hard sometimes. Part of the reason you found it so easy with your passion is that it’s almost self-driving – you soak up the knowledge. It’s not quite the same when you have to manufacture the passion. That said, sometimes when you spend a little time getting into something, once you get past the initial part where you have no idea what is going on, you stay to appreciate the intricacies and a new  passion can grow where previously there was just bafflement.

One key might be to keep your end goal in mind. If you’re trying to change careers, you might have almost no idea about the jargon or technologies that are used yet, but you’re pretty sure it’s something you want to know about. When it gets hard, you don’t just think about the thing you’re doing, but you can look forward to where you will be when you’ve learned it, and how you really want to know how it works.

It’s kind of like when you learn to drive. To start with, you just get your feet tangled up and feel like everything is to fast. But you don’t learn to drive just so you can drive. You learn to drive so you can go somewhere. So you put in the practice so that you can be more independent and get to where you want to go.

Whatever you’re passionate about, and no matter whether it is useful or not, enjoy it, and don’t worry if your closest friends don’t get it. Everyone has something like that. But it’s part of what makes you who you are.